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April 2017, Vol. 16, No. 2

Should you go all-in on hyper-convergence technology?

As solid-state storage has supplanted the venerable hard drive as primary storage, we've come to realize a number of deficiencies in the RAID array model. Compared to local storage, RAID arrays deliver millisecond delays to all I/O operations and, while this was acceptable when HDD access times ran to tens of milliseconds, it becomes extremely inadequate when, for example, a local nonvolatile memory express (NVMe) SSD can deliver data within 100 microseconds. In the meantime, rebuild times for failed HDDs proved longer than the average time to failure of another drive in the array. This would eventually lead to data loss. RAID 6, with a second parity drive, tempered the issue for awhile. But increases in capacity above 4 TB made even dual-parity loss-prone. These inadequacies, among others, forced the storage industry to change course, steering us toward hyper-convergence technology. The road to hyper-convergence The logical response to the performance and reliability issues revealed by the deployment of flash was to shift from ...

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